I get it. You’re new at this parenting thing. You’re freaked out. I’ve been there, too.
Aside from writing the “please use the designated search bar” answer 467 times, I decided to start recording and answering the questions I see most frequently here. Some are serious questions worthy of serious answers; I think you’ll be able to tell when they aren’t.
Consider this the start of a running tally of questions, and feel free to add your own in the comments! I’ll add them in here when I can.
Q: My eight month old won’t eat anything she can’t hold herself. How do I know she gets enough food?
A: Food before one is just for fun. Until 12 months, baby’s primary source of nutrition should still be breastmilk and formula, or both.
Q: When do I take my LO out of a crib and into a bed?
A: When they ask for one.
Q: If I let my baby stay up later at night, will she sleep in?
A: Probably not. Most babies are hardwired to sleep more when they get more sleep. Read Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth for the science behind sleep and sleep deficits and why it might not make much sense, but biologically sleep begets sleep.
Q: Where can I get this tutu (inserts picture from Etsy)?
A: How about Etsy?
Q: Does anyone know what this rash could be on my kid?
A: Unless there’s a doctor in the forum who is really good at diagnosing smartphone photos – one who graduated with an actual, accredited medical degree – please go see a doctor.
Q: Anyone out there make cheap birthday cakes?
A: Yes, grocery stores. If you want a custom cake that involves several hours of painstaking work, you gots to pay.
Q: When will I sleep again?
A: Probably in about 14 years. Teenagers apparently LOVE to sleep. But then I hear you’re too worried about where they are to get any rest yourself. So…coffee?
Q: Should I have more kids?
A: Probably. If you have to ask, you haven’t hit that “oh-Lordy-I’m-done!” feeling yet. THAT’s when you stop.
Q: What do I do if no one RSVPs for my kid’s party?
A: Walk up and ask them if their kid is coming? Pick up the phone?
Q: What name should I give my son’s wee-wee to teach him body part names?
Q: Do I have to stop breastfeeding when my baby gets teeth?
A: No; they don’t use their teeth when suckling.
Q:How long should I breastfeed for?
A: The WHO recommends mothers breastfeed for six months exclusively; then for at least two years with solids, and then as long as both mom and baby still want to.
Q: Why isn’t breastfeeding easy?
A: Because it’s a learned skill and it takes two people to learn together. It’s NOT “natural” and takes some time to master. But it should never hurt. Nipples don’t need to “toughen up.” If it hurts AT ALL, the latch needs work and you should seek help from a lactation consultant as soon as possible. There’s ZERO shame in needing help; most women do.
Q: What should I make for my picky eater?
A: Whatever you’re making for the rest of the family. If he’s hungry, he’ll eat. If he doesn’t, one day isn’t going to hurt and I bet he’ll be hungry tomorrow.
Q: If I have to supplement with formula, is that bad?
A: I think the alternative is worse. Starvation is definitely bad.
Q: What’s the best car seat?
A: The one that’s properly installed and used correctly.
Q: Can someone recommend a photographer for less than $100?
A: Your neighbour and a Polaroid.
Q: What’s the best way to child-proof my home?
A: Teach “no.”
Q: Does anyone know where the Oshawa Clinic is?
Q: What are the best diapers to use?
A: The ones that prevent your baby’s poo from making its way up her back and down her sleeve. And by that I mean more often than not.
Q: My baby’s modelling portfolio is going to cost $500. Is that a good price?
A: No. That’s a scam. Never pay to put your kid in modelling.
Q: My baby makes weird noises/faces/shapes with her fingers/poops/etc. — is this normal?
A: Yes. Because babies are crazy.
Q: Should I let my son play with girl toys?
A: There are no girl toys or boy toys. Just like there are no girl colours and boy colours.
Q: How will I know when my baby is teething?
A: You will see new teeth.
Q: When can my baby start solids?
A: Once your baby can sit independently on a hard floor and not fall over, AND once he can pick up and hold his own food in his bare hands, you’re probably ready to start. This usually falls in line with the current recommendation of starting somewhere between six and eight months old.
Q: Will giving my three month old some baby cereal help him sleep more?
A: Nope. It’s not recommended and it won’t work anyway. Save her the digestive issues and save yourself the money.
Q: I’ve tried every sleep training method out there but nothing works. Why?
A: Probably because you didn’t settle on JUST ONE and really commit to it long-term (at least four weeks). It’s not the method itself but the way you follow it with utter consistency that’s the trick.
Q: When should I start potty training?
A: When you’re ready to stop buying diapers (and, bonus answer: ready to have your carpets and furniture peed on).
Q: Anything that starts with “no judging, please.”
A: You’re in a parenting forum that, aside from Facebook names, is basically anonymous. You’re going to be judged no matter what. If you don’t want judgement, go ask your real friends.